Due to computer problems, I was unable to post about my last 2 days in Santa Margherita until now.
Saturday, June 28
Saturday morning, I headed back down to the waterfront to check out the Sant’ Erasmo activities for the day.
11 am: Processione in mare con la statua di S. Erasmo verso la “Cervara” deposizione corona di alloro a ricordodei caduti del mare (a procession of boats where a mass is held to remember those lost at sea). I watched the procession of a very handsome priest, all dressed up, along with a small group of people also dressed up, and some men carrying the statue of Sant’ Erasmo. The statue was placed on a big fishing boat and then the people involved with the ceremony got on board.
As I was taking photos, one of the men who had something to do with the event told me that if I was interested, I could go on a boat at the imacadero. I understood everything he said to me except I was not sure where the imbacadero was. I walked down the waterfront in the direction he pointed but did not see any boats that looked like they were boarding passengers. I was just about to walk back, when I noticed a few ladies who were also watching the statue being placed on the boat walking towards the boat dock where I took the boat to Portofino. I followed them and was in luck. There was a huge crowd waiting for the next boat to Portofino. The ladies weaved through the crowd and said something about the procession and were given free tickets to board a boat ready to depart. I followed the ladies and was given a ticket to board the boat.
We followed a bunch of other boats out to sea and motored almost to Portofino. It was a very hot day. The breeze on the boat felt wonderful. As we motored out, a sweet older woman standing next to me started pointing out where she was staying, what beach she went to, etc. At one point I said “wow” and she said “Oh, you are not Italian”. I smiled. After we established where I was from, how I learned Italian, etc. she went right back to describing the various houses and villas she knew about. She also told me more about the procession.
We stopped at a spot near where there was a big building where monks lived. The priest said a short mass using a microphone so everyone could hear. All the boats blew their horns when the mass was finished and a wreath was thrown into the water. For some reason, I thought the statue would be going in the water, but it did not. I think I saw a movie once where a statue was put in the water.
As we motored back, we stopped again right outside the harbor of Santa Margherita Ligure for about 15 more minutes. I’m not sure why we stopped but it was nice to be out on the water. While we were stopped, we saw a HUGE jellyfish in the water.
For more photos of this event as well as a short video, check out this post.
I walked back toward my hotel and stopped on the way at a wonderful place that sold focaccia. I had a focaccia with cheese (I think it was mozarella cheese) and some fruit for lunch on the balcony of my hotel.
At 3 pm, I headed back down to the waterfront for the next event of the day – the tradizionale “Albero della Cuccagna in Mare”. I had no idea what this was but was up for another interesting event. Mostly men and a few teenagers and younger boys were hanging out. I saw a few men standing near the water. I went to look and saw a long green pole hanging over the water with 4 pieces of paper dangling at the end of the pole. A man was trying to recruit more participants over a microphone. After about 30 minutes of announcing the event and recruiting people, the event finally started.
One by one, starting with the younger boys and teenagers, each person tried to move themselves down the pole to the end to grab one of the tickets. The wooden pole was soaped. Many of the participants fell into the water before reaching the end of the pole. After about 5 or 6 people gave it a try, a boy of about 12 had his turn. He was the first one to get one of the tickets. Everyone was cheering him on as he got closer and closer. I stayed for about an hour watching one after another give it a try and 4 people get the 4 tickets. I never found out what the prize was (if there was one).
Here is the unedited video I took. I love listening to the excitement of everyone cheering him on in Italian as he works his way down to the end of the pole.
The last of the three festival events I attended was the “Processione sulla Banchina con i tradizionali “CRISTI” e la Confraternite.” This took place at 6pm, starting at the church and ending across the street at the marina. The men took turns carrying 3 huge crosses through the streets and by the waterfront along with a band (I think it was possibly a high school band), the women who participated in the earlier procession, and again the cute priest and the statue of Sant’ Erasmo.. The crosses looked pretty heavy and there were a few moments when I thought one of the men would topple over while attempting to balance their cross. The procession was short with more cars stuck in traffic than out watching the parade. I thought it was pretty cool even though it was not well attended.
After a full day of events in the hot sun, I was pretty wiped out. I could hardly keep my eyes open at dinner time. I walked back up to del Baffo but all the tables were taken and the earliest they had an opening was at 9:30. I was too tired to walk around to find another place. I wanted to eat at Il Nostromo, a restaurant I saw on the first day of my stay in SML, but never could find it again after that. I ended up eating at my hotel. I ordered the trofie with pesto – giving it one more try. It was ok but not great but still good enough for how I was feeling. I almost fell asleep at the table while waiting for it to be prepared. Needless to say, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.
Sunday, June 29
Sunday, I headed back down the the waterfront and found a big rock to sit at by the water. The waterfront was the only area where there was a cool breeze. I watched as little kids tried to walk along the big rocks by the walkway. I also watched 2 huge jellyfish hanging out in the water nearby. The beaches were packed with people since it was the weekend. I wondered how many were being stung by jellyfish. That evening I saw a report about the jellyfish invasion. I did not see any signs posted though to warn everyone.
After a couple of hours, I walked back down to see if any more events were going to take place and then walked up a new road I had not been on. I had no idea where it was going to take me. I thought it would wind up back in the center near the main church but instead it started going up hill. I was committed by that point and continued to walk on this road. Eventually, I ended up at the Villa Durazzo. I went to the bar next door and had a glass of peach juice and then headed back to my hotel.
I spent much of the afternoon in my hotel room staying cool. Most everything was closed and it was just too hot outside. I tried a couple of times to get on the computer but the wireless connection was not working. The woman at the hotel told me that if it was not fixed before I left, she would refund me the internet charge.
Instead I watched Sugarland Express in Italian. I only saw the end of the movie once. It was quite interesting in Italian. The electricity went out for a minute or so three times while I was watching the movie. I was glad I was not on the computer losing everything each time the electricity went out. I think it was possibly brown outs due to the heat. I also packed most of my things so I would not have to rush Monday morning.
For dinner, I went back to del Baffo. I went at 7:30 to make sure to get a table. It was already pretty crowded, probably due to the championship soccer game starting soon. I had a pasta with seafood and then some fried seafood.
Thank you everyone for all of your comments. It is fun hearing from everyone. I had a wonderful time on the Ligurian Coast and am now in Acqui Terme. Jan (jgk) and I are heading to the Tim store to get her phone problem straightened out. I will write more soon.
Next up – Monday in Aqui Terme